Of Fire and Ice

I’m taking it slow
Feeding my flame
Shuffling the cards of your game
And just in time
In the right place
Suddenly I will play my ace

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8. Chapter Eight

The walk back to the wooded path was much quicker than before. Bridget released Loki’s hand the moment they had reached the cover of trees, but she did not lift their illusions. Her steps were measured and quick. The pack on her back was undoubtedly adding extra weight, but she made no complaints, and her determination was strong.

“Someone must have tipped them off about the storm last night,” she said as they hiked. “They’re getting faster to respond. No doubt they already know you’re here, and they’re watching for anyone suspicious. It was stupid of me to bring you so close to town. I just wanted to get you some supplies. I had no idea you would be so tall. We’ll have to leave the lodge behind.

“You’re not exactly a master of long-term plans, it seems,” he remarked.

“You need to keep your mouth shut because I am in no mood to listen to your silver tongue. I’m thinking.”

“In advance, I hope.”

“Shut it, Prince.”

They headed up a long hill, and Loki wished he had a walking staff like hers to keep his balance on the frozen ground. She seemed to forget that he was more human than she was now, and the cold and distance were taking their toll on his body. He grew tired of the silence along the way and spoke again of what she had been so heated over in the general store.

“Your son,” he said, breathing quickly. “What was his name?” She didn’t answer for a moment. She was still thinking, but it was clear she had heard him in the way she lifted her hood back over her face to block out the sight of her glowing cheeks.

“None of your concern,” she said. “But I’d rather not talk now. We’re still being tracked.”

“You’re sure? All the way out here?” She nodded.

“I’m positive. Follow me.” She stepped off of the main road and into the woods, dragging him along with her. They reached the dense space between the trees and she turned to him. “You hear that?” she asked. He listened carefully.

“I hear nothing,” he said.

“Shh,” she said, pressing her warm finger against his lips. “Listen.” It took a moment longer for him to hear, but soon the sound of thumping in the distance echoed through the wind. “Helicopter,” she told him. “They’re looking for us. We’ll have to take cover in the trees. And we can’t go back to the lodge now.”

“Where will we go?” he asked.

“I have a cabin farther south. But be quiet.” She wrapped her hand around his wrist and dragged him into the cover of the trees. They waited for a moment as the sound of helicopter blades faded in and out in the distance. “The knife you took from the kitchen, where is it?” He looked down at her in confusion.

“What knife?” he asked.

“You were never as good a warrior as Thor or even Odin, but you are intelligent, quick, and you always carry a knife. But you’re going to need it. So I suggest you take it out.”

He studied her face for a moment as her dark eyes searched the skies beyond the canopy of pine needles. But then he relented and pulled the silver kitchen knife from the sleeve of his shirt. She pretended not to watch, but he was sure he saw her smirk.

“They’re having difficulties tracking us down,” she murmured. “My enchantments are holding steady. However, if SHIELD is looking for us here then it is likely Heimdall is too, and he will see right passed them. We have to be careful. Here.” She handed her walking stick over. “It’s going to be slippery.”

She turned her back on him as he weighed the thick pole in his hands. It was carved with strange markings and as smooth as stone. He tested it a few times, tossing it between his hands and getting a feel for it. Then he swung toward her retreating figure, hoping to see the heavy wood bash against the side of her skull.

The wood sliced through the air, creating a humming sound in the cold. She ducked before the staff could reach her, and in an instant, she swung back around. The fingers of her left hand laced into the front of his coat. She used all of her might to shove him against a nearby tree. And then he found the point of the sharp kitchen blade pressed against his throat. Her illusion faded in a shimmer of green light, and he smiled at her quick reaction.

“You seem surprised,” he said.

“I get the feeling that you want me to kill you,” she replied.

“You wouldn’t dare. You need me, remember?” She glared and the forearm pressed against his chest began to grow hotter. Her skin started to glow in the hollows of her cheeks.

“I don’t need you nearly half as much as you need me. The only reason your brother hasn’t come for you is because of me. The second you kill me is the exact moment that Heimdall sees you.”

“And what makes you think Asgard isn’t exactly where I want to be?” She was the one to smile this time. And he couldn’t call it a smile of joy or delight in any way. It was almost a gloating smile. The smile of a woman who knew that she had exactly what she wanted.

“Because you want to know what I want from you and how it will benefit you. And I can assure you the reward will be far greater than you can possibly imagine. But you’ll have to trust me. At least for a while.”

“Trust isn’t in my nature.” She smiled again and released the front of his coat. She flipped the long dagger in her hand and pointed the blade in his direction.

“If you try to kill me again, I will burn you.”

“Oh but, darling, you've already made that threat.”

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This will be the last update for a while, or at least they'll slow down, because I haven't finished working on this and I want to have it perfect before it's up all the way. But I will update again soon.

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